The fact that Facebook Messenger chatbots scaled from zero to 100,000 in just the 14 months to April this year seems to support those industry commentators who suggest that AI-enabled technologies really are starting to replace the contact centre function.
However, scratch the surface and you’ll find that this first generation of chatbots actually don’t deliver as well when it comes to delivering what Forrester refers to as ‘enterprise-grade customer service’.
There’s clearly a big difference between the kind of basic chatbots that are targeted for Facebook-style usage and more enterprise-level chatbot solutions that need to work in tandem with existing customer engagement solutions. To make sure you’re focusing on the right chatbot approach, it’s essential that organisations think first about what it is they’re trying to achieve, who will use it – and also the impact it’s likely to have on the broader customer journey.
To help define this, we’ve come up with five questions that customer engagement teams should consider to help make their chatbot projects successful:
- Be Clear about your chatbot project’s mission – Just launching a chatbot because it’s the latest thing probably isn’t going to deliver the value you need – and is danger of potentially turning into a re-run of earlier misguided apps strategies. Do you intend to use your chatbot to attract new customers, or are you trying to deflect demand and secure cost savings?
- Understand your users – It’s important to consider how your customers are going to engage with the chatbot and whether this adds value to the customer journey. Are your customers struggling to find information on your website, or do they want a chatbot that can complete end to end service transactions?
- Have you got all the right content in place? – Standalone chatbots are likely to be limited in content, however content for enterprise-grade chatbots will also need to work seamlessly across Virtual Assistant projects, human-assisted chat as well as contact centre engagements. Make sure content is written from the user’s perspective and provides the right level of detail. This is likely to involve a range of different functions across the business.
- Consider the impact of any branded persona being used – Done well, the right branded persona can add value and help extend your organisation’s brand. However the opposite is also true! Any brand persona needs to be carefully thought through, requiring support from your Marketing operation and a detailed analysis of your target chatbot customers.
- Have you considered the technology implications of your chatbot? – For broader deployments where the chatbot engine is likely to support multiple engagement channels, it’s essential to consider enterprise-grade security features – such as biometrics, as well as integration with core back-end systems such as CRM or support. This will mean working closely with your IT and Compliance teams.
Developing the answers to these questions will help organisations in terms of clarifying whether their chatbot project is likely to end up a limited scope Messenger-style experience, or whether they’re actually looking for a natural language enabled Virtual Assistant that is intended to function across multiple channels.
To learn more about how your organisation can broaden customer access with the latest Virtual Assistant and chatbot technologies, please contact [email protected]